Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Archive for the tag “First Nations”

Stand for Social Justice

Jeff Denis, Assistant Professor of Sociology at McMaster University analyzed the First Nations demonstrations well when he said;

“For non-native people, Idle No More is a matter of social and environmental justice. When corporate profit is privileged over the health of our lands and waters, we all suffer. When government stifles debate, democracy is diminished. Bill C-45 is just the latest in a slew of legislation that undermines Canadians’ rights. In standing against it, the First Nations are standing for us too. If our government , PM Harper in particular, does not respect Indigenous and treaty rights, then the very legitimacy of the Canadian state — and thus of all our citizenship rights — is in doubt also. That’s what Idle No More is about.”

Mr. Harper has absolutely not a moral fiber in his body. He knows that a meeting with the Chiefs can only lead to repealing the government’s 2 omnibus bills passed earlier this year. They knew before passing the legislation that they had a constitutional obligation to meet with First Nations, they didn’t. The senate also knew the same before approving the two omnibus bills, they approved them both regardless. The Governor General knew the legislation needed First Nations consultation first, he gave both Royal Assent dispite the constitutional law. Does the matter now need to be settled in court?

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First Nations vs Enbridge

Justice Scales on Maple Leaf

Justice is a Canadian Right

Without doubt, the Supreme Court will hear many a case of First Nations vs Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, Canada, Alberta, BC. I have been conducting a search of Supreme Court rulings Aboriginals/First Nations vs. Crown/Industry. It appears that the court has a very sympathetic judicial ear toward First Nations claims and rights.
See: Aboriginal Rights and Title

When considering; the First Nations land entitlements, the UN Declaration on Aboriginal Rights, The Moratorium on tankers in the BC North Coast and the Coastal Reconciliation Protocol, all seems a done deal in favor of preventing the pipeline project from going through. However:

Given that PM Stephen Harper has this pipeline as a pet project and has all but assured approval to both Enbridge and the Chinese Government along with his disdain for NGOs and his basic denial that the UN declaration has sway under Canadian Law or that the tanker moratorium even exists, should there be suspicion that PM Harper will enact legislation to squelch any decisions, protocols or laws that stand in the way? Since the Supreme Court is appointed, is there a likelihood that he appoints a judiciary more favorable to the Enbridge pipeline position?

In reviewing the decisions of the Courts and the ‘Delgamuukw’ rulings which compel all parties to reaffirm the treaty process through negotiation, and since the British Columbia Treaty Commission has yet to make final rulings on Wet’suwet’en, Gitxsan, and Tsimshian land claims, it seems probable that the settlements with First Nations should precede the final ruling on the Northern Gateway Project. If that be the case, the Supreme Court will definitely become involved and the process could take up to 20 years before its all over.

Two Supreme Court (1997) statements bear special consideration:

1. Aboriginal title lands must not be used in a way that is irreconcilable with the nature of the group’s attachment to the land.

2. In order for the Crown to justify an infringement of Aboriginal title, it must demonstrate a compelling and substantive legislative objective, it must have consulted with the Aboriginal group prior to acting, and in some cases, compensation may be required.

The clause; “and in some cases, compensation may be required.” Could this be interpreted; The Government may infringe on rights and grant compensation regardless of the First Nations opposition?

Understanding First Nations

The Wet’suwet’en have said no! This is the final word that our people will say on this. This is final law and cannot be broken. My wish is that Government/Industry would learn about the Wet’suwet’en, and understand that they have no right to go against the Decree of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs/Clan/Members.
Chief Na’Moks, Wet’suwet’en First Nation

My first encounter with First Nations people in North Coast BC was in 1957 when I worked for a summer aboard a mission boat sailing out of Alert Bay. White people referred to the ‘natives’ collectively as Indians, all the same with no real identity. Quaint sounding names such as, Kwakwaka’wakw, were just map references with no connection with the people that lived there. Names such as Cowichan, Tzouhalem, Qualicum or Nanaimo. No one seemed to care what the meaning of the names were, they were just names.

Raven and Sisiutl, 1995 Richard Hunt

Raven and Sisiutl, 1995 Richard Hunt, Kwa-Gulth Arts Ltd.


The ‘Indians’ who lived in Alert Bay and had continuous dealings with and were forced to abide by white customs and rules seemed to have an underlying bitterness that whites just could not understand. Here they had all they needed. Houses built for them, schools, stores, a hospital; what more do they want? How ungrateful.

Visiting villages, Hopetown, Kingcome, and others, ‘Churched’ names for native villages, but the people were by far more friendly and welcoming away from the white culture. Attending ceremonies at their longhouses and listening to the stories of the elders I was too young and naive then to see the yearning in their hearts, like the longing for a lost treasure. I never understood this until my own father became ill. A man who had served all his life in the British Army in India and was forced to find a new life when India gained independence. At the age of 50, he never really fit in with Canadian culture and later when he took sick and was unable to work, that same look of longing was in his face. His stories of how it was had that familiar tone I had heard from the Elders in those native villages.

My impression of First Nations people changed dramatically, although even working in the North, my attitude was still generally based on encounters through the ‘white’ culture, how they were adapting. It wasn’t until the day our Dept. of Fisheries vessel was assigned to attend the opening of the Museum at Bella Bella, First Nations name, Heiltsuk, people of Wáglísla. When the missionaries came to convert the native population, they stole nearly all of the aboriginal tools and artifacts. Churches and museums and private collectors were now giving many of the stolen items back. Like a u’mista, a Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations term for ransom paid, the lost were returning.

An account of the Museum and Artifacts can be found here Looking for Bella Bella.

My lasting impression came from talking with the Chief at Bella Bella that day. No bitterness toward the people who had raided their village nearly 100 years ago but a very understanding, almost philosophical approach. He said, “If the church hadn’t taken these artifacts, they would have rotted away and we would not have them today.” The First Nations, just as all aboriginals, were and still are in tradition, a people of oral history, not souvenirs.

One concept that needs understanding by all Canadians; First Nations culture, passed down through the oral stories by the elders, is not just history. It is their roots, a people tied to the land they live in, the oneness of nature and peoples. Like religious doctrine it encompasses the past, present and future. To threaten the land is to threaten the peoples themselves.

Imagine if a corporation threatened to take away, destroy your belief system, be it Christian, Jewish, Islam, Tao, Hindu or any other. What would be the reaction for Canadians if in the event of a corporate mistake, our democratic governance would come to an end? An oil spill on the North Coast threatens the land of the First Nations, threatens the First Nations traditions, threatens the peoples themselves. No u’mista will bring it back. There is no ransom that can be paid. When a Chief makes a decree or an agreement, he speaks not only for his people today, he speaks for all the generations to come.

Panda Pipeline

Panda Pipeline.

Stop the Northern Gateway Pipeline

I will admit that I am not against pipelines. Canada has thousands of kilometers of pipelines criss-crossing this great country of ours. I am against this Northern Gateway Pipeline. Not the pipeline as a means to deliver crude oil, but to the tanker traffic it would bring to the BC North Coast and the ecological, environmental and economical tragedy that will inevitably happen.

British Columbia would absorb all the risks involved with virtually no benefits. 40 permanent jobs, that’s it. Billions in ecological damage, millions in environmental clean-up. Enbridge states that when an oil spill does occur, it is not the oil companies liability. Canada would have to sue the shipping company for causing it. That is copping out.

Help put a Stop to the Northern Gateway Pipeline!

First:
The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline requires overturning the current federal-provincial moratorium on oil tanker traffic along the coast of British Columbia, and will threaten fragile ecosystems, wilderness and landscapes, including the Great Bear Rainforest.

The Green Party of Canada has a petition to help stop the pipeline from going ahead. Download this petition, have as many people as possible to sign it, and mail it – postage free – to either her Ottawa or Sidney offices. With as few as 25 signatures, Elizabeth can present your petition to the government in the House of Commons.

Please return all signed petitions, postage free, to:

Hill Office
Confederation Building, Room 518
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Tel: 613.996.1119
Fax: 613.996.0850
Riding Office
1 – 9711 Fourth Street
Sidney, British Columbia
V8L 2Y8
Tel: 250.657.2000
Fax: 250.657.2004

Please email elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca or call 613-996-1119 if you have any questions.

Axis of Oil

“Axis of Oil” Poses Significant Problems and Questions for Canada

Prime Minister’s Focus on Money and Markets Ignores Issues of Energy and National Security, Human Rights, Syria, and More

“Canadians simply cannot and should not make the dramatic economic and social shifts Harper is aggressively orchestrating without more information.”

Hilites:

  • Canada becoming a colony of China.
  • Shipping jobs off-shore.
  • Compromises Canada’s foreign Policy.
  • During the 2008 federal election campaign, Stephen Harper promised he wouldn’t export raw crude to countries with weaker environmental standards than Canada, protecting Canadian jobs.
  • The oil and gas sector already has nearly two times the amount of foreign investment compared to the average in other areas of our economy with twice the percentage of profits leaving Canada.
  • Concerning Chinese oil sands investments, estimates vary because of the lack of transparency, but it’s at least $12 billion and as much as $20 billion.
  • Not only jobs will be lost, but energy security and even national sovereignty are at stake. As Anthony Campbell, former head of the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat of the Privy Council Office, has pointed out: “We are sitting ducks.” We are losing our ability to control the oil sands and our energy future.
  • Even Enbridge has admitted that its pipeline will be of no benefit to Canada if it doesn’t secure the so-called “Asian Premium” – a higher crude price.
  • Canada will slowly become a petro state with all the negatives we’ve witnessed around the world.
  • The absurdity of so-called “Ethical Oil” is made transparent when you consider our increased, unquestioning partnership with China. After all, China is also working closely with Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. This fact also makes a mockery of any government concerns about “foreign” influence among opponents of the Enbridge/China pipeline.

Axis of oil?
February 9, 2012 15:38
John Robson looks at Elizabeth May’s alarmist language when it comes to the oilsands.

Wildrose reaction to May’s comments
February 9, 2012 15:49
Krista Erickson speaks with Alberta Wildrose leader Danielle Smith about the Alberta budget and Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s latest oil comments.
Says May’s agenda is to shut down the oil sands and tankers must be allowed to travel in BC waters.

Open Question

How can the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project continue, and continue spending millions of taxpayers dollars on a Joint Review Panel, while:

1. There is a moratorium on crude oil tankers in the BC North Coast in place. This moratorium must be set aside first both by the BC Legislature and the Government of Canada.

2. BC has pledged to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 and endorsed by the Harper government in 2010 which says; states should obtain from indigenous peoples “their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.” Without First Nations consent, there can be no approval of the pipeline project.

3. The BC Government and the Premier of BC have an obligation to act accordingly on the First Nations behalf under the Coastal Reconciliation Protocol signed Dec. 10, 2009. Unless the BC Government and Premier Christy Clark abandone this Protocol, they are committed to act on behalf of the Coastal First Nations who are also signatories of this bill.

4. The transport of Alberta crude by tanker through the Port of Kitamat has been “dis-allowed” by all 9 of the Coastal First Nations who need to give consent to the project first before it can go ahead. The declaration to not allow the pipeline through their lands has been ratified 100% by all Coastal First Nations involved.

By Law then, the conclusion must be:
In respect to First Nations Rights and Law, in respect of the BC Governments obligation to First Nations people, and to uphold the Laws of Canada, our Prime Minister and the Government of Alberta must abandon their governments position that the Pipeline is “Beneficial for Canada” and put an end to Enbridge pipeline and export ambitions via the Gateway project.

To allow this project to continue is inviting 5 to 10 years of lawsuits and litigation costing several billion. Or is this what the law community wants?

Therefore the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline project is effectively dead. Shut down the Joint Review Panel and save the millions of dollars it is costing. Unless of couse the PM has been taking lessons from Chinese politics and is about to disregard Canadian Law and trample on peoples rights.

Gateway Pipeline a NO-GO

The Enbridge Gateway Pipeline project is dead.

Stop all proceedings trying to ram this project through, it is over. The pipe dream of the Chinese to export Alberta crude through the Port of Kitamat has been “dis-allowed” by all 9 of the Coastal First Nations who need to give consent to the project first before it can go ahead. The declaration to not allow the pipeline through their lands has been ratified 100% by all Coastal First Nations involved.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 and endorsed by the Harper government in 2010 says; states should obtain from indigenous peoples “their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.”

To respect First Nations Rights and Law, our Prime Minister must uphold Canadian Law and abandon his governments position that Enbridge is “Beneficial for Canada” and put an end to their pipeline and export ambitions via the Gateway project.

The BC Government and the Premier of BC have an obligation to act accordingly on the First Nations behalf under the Coastal Reconciliation Protocol. Several First Nations, including the Gitga’at First Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo Indian Band, Metlakatla First Nation, Wuikinuxv Nation and the Nuxalk Nation, and Premier Gordon Campbell originally signed the Coastal Reconciliation Protocol on Dec. 10, 2009. The Coastal Reconciliation Protocol provides First Nations people with an additional venue to implement decisions within their respective Territories and negotiate to manage lands and resources within Ancestral Territory to accommodate shared cultural, social, environmental and economic interests.

From: Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief (Chief Na’Moks, Tsayu, Beaver Clan, Head Chief of Tsayu)

“We stand firm in our opposition to this (Enbridge Gateway Pipeline) proposed project. Our law states that if and when the high Chiefs of our Nation (encompassing the entire 22,000 square Kilometers of unceded, undefeated, non Treaty Lands) make a declaration of opposition, then this is final law and cannot be broken.” “The Wet’suwet’en have said no! This is the final word that our people will say on this. My wish is that Government/Industry would learn about the Wet’suwet’en, and understand that they have no right to go against the Decree of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs/Clan/Members.”

Enbridge is a corporation who is trying to buy off the Chiefs and First Nation people instead of respecting their rights and traditions.

From: Sierra Club of BC Foundation

In March, 2010, Coastal First Nations issued a declaration banning tar sands crude oil tanker traffic from their territories. In making the declaration, the Haida, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo, Haisla, Gitga’at and other First Nations exercised their ancestral laws, rights and responsibilities over the waters and lands of their traditional territories.

“As Nations of the Central and North Pacific Coast and Haida Gwaii, it is our custom to share our wealth and live in harmony with the broader human community,” said the declaration. “However, we will not bear the risk to these lands and waters caused by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and crude oil tanker traffic.”

Gitga’at Nation spokesman Cameron Hill says,

“The Gitga’at are of the sea and we have always known that oil & gas tankers in these waters were a horrible and frightening idea.” “It’s all about risks and benefits. For the Gitga’at it’s all risk and no benefits, and for Enbridge it’s all benefits and no risk”.

Haida declaration reads:

“Our culture, our heritage is the child of respect and intimacy with the land and sea. Like the forests, the roots of our people are intertwined such that the greatest troubles cannot overcome us. We owe our existence to Haida Gwaii … the living generation accepts the responsibility to ensure that our heritage is passed on to following generations.”

Haisla Nation chief councilor Ellis Ross explains,

“We don’t feel the benefits of the Northern Gateway pipeline project outweigh the risks to land and sea.”

Heiltsuk Nation Marilyn Slett, elected Chief Councillor, stated;

“We stand behind our coastal First Nation neighbors and the declaration that we all signed that ban oil tankers on our coast.” “We will never support the Enbridge project and we will never support a project that has the potential to destroy our way of life.”

March 23, 2010
First Nations stood as a unified block this week – on the 21st anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill – to announce their opposition to a proposed Tar Sands pipeline.

“We will protect ourselves and the interests of future generations with everything we have because one major oil spill on the coast of British Columbia would wipe us out,” said Gerald Amos, Director, Coastal First Nations, an alliance of nine First Nations. “This bountiful and globally significant coastline cannot bear an oil spill. This is where Enbridge hits a wall.” Read more..

Coastal First Nations from Vancouver Island to the BC/Alaska border are unanimous in their opposition and are joined by the vast majority of First Nations affected along the pipeline route from Kitamaat to Alberta. For more information read the full Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative press release. Download Declaration (pdf)

The First Nations call on the Federal Government to protect BC coastal waters and formally legislate the oil tanker traffic moratorium.

Coastal First Nations – Who We Are
Coastal First Nations is an alliance of First Nations on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii. Coastal First Nations includes the Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation, Gitga’at First Nation, Haisla, Metlakatla First Nation, Homalco First Nation, Old Massett Village Council, Skidegate Band Council, and Council of the Haida Nation.

The Coastal First Nations opposition to the pipeline project has been formally endorsed by most all Northern BC First Nations; See list, and many prominant Canadians and environmental groups.
Download An open message to Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel
Council of the Haida Nation – Old Massett Village Council – Skidegate Band Council – Gitga’at First Nation – Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation – Metlakatla First Nation – Haisla Nation – Heiltsuk Nation – Wuikinuxv First Nation – Nuxalk Nation – Lax Kw’alaams First Nation – Gitxaala/Kitkatla First Nation – Carrier Sekani Tribal Council – Wet’suwet’en Nation – Nadleh Whut’en First Nation – Nak’azdli Band – Swan River First Nation – Namgis First Nation – Nanwakolas Council – Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs – Lillooet Tribal Council – St’at’imc Chiefs Council – Canoe Creek Band – Takla First Nation – Siska Indian Band – Kispiox Band Council – Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council – Musgamagw Tsawataineuk – Tribal Council

First Nations that have declared opposition to proposed Enbridge tanker & pipeline project British Columbia and Western Canada Current to December 31 2011

Stop tankers from entering Northern BC waters

Say NO to tankers

Enbridge Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline

http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1095775–aboriginal-groups-stand-against-canadian-oil-pipeline

“A group of First Nations in British Columbia says it will do “whatever means necessary” to stop exports of crude oil from Alberta’s oilsands through their territories — including the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline.

Stop tankers from entering Northern BC waters

Say NO to tankers

The $5.5-billion project, which is currently being assessed by a review panel in Ottawa, now faces yet another public relations setback in its quest to open up a new supply route to Asia.”

The pipeline would move 525,000 barrels a day of oilsands crude 1,177 km from Edmonton to the Pacific port of Kitimat, B.C.
“Access to the Asian market, which is growing very quickly, is extremely important,” said Travis Davies, spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t know all the facts about oil production and distribution.  I have thought about energy and environment and these thoughts run through my head.

The Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline could lead to an environment disaster, true. There is a bigger more ominous problem, economic reality. The reality is that Canada imports roughly 60% of its crude oil requirements.

Canada is a net energy exporter, Crude oil, natural gas and coal, 99 percent of its annual oil exports to USA, but, Canada also imports large amounts of these energy products. The fact is its major coal and oil fields are located in Western Canada, mostly in Alberta. The main population and industrial centers are located in Ontario and Quebec. Also many of its oil refineries cannot handle the types of oil produced in Canada.

Canada is being held hostage by the oil industry. Not just Canada – the world. Canada exports near all of Canadian production, money in oil company pockets, and they want to export more, and then import more than half of Canadian needs. Ummm, who does the Tar Sands oil belong to?

If Enbridge can build a pipeline to the Pacific, they can build a pipeline to Ontario. If it means using Tar Sands oil, then update the refineries to do so. They won’t because Canada would become oil independent and would then be in the position to get out of OPEC and have lower crude pricing and energy costs would go down. The oil producing companies would cry.

It is not enough just to extract and export or to extract, refine and export. If the end user is over contributing to global warming, not using the best technology available, the end results will remain the same and the Kyoto Protocol will become of no effect, in actuality it probably already is. Should Canada allow exports to countries with insufficient pollution standards? Canada can no longer play the resource game just for profit. Curbing emissions in Canada is of no account if Canada allows other countries to use Canadian resources and products in environmentally detrimental ways. China and India are the top environment offenders.

Simply put, we cannot allow our environmental obligations to be traded away.

Emphatic NO to exporting oil to Asian countries. Canadian oil for Canadians first. The USA will import all the rest Canada can produce. That is good for Canada, good for the USA. If Canada can help the US in their energy crunch, the global economies will become more stable. That is if the USA has the balls to solving their financial crisis.

Blogs on this topic I am following:
David Suzuki, the Northern Gateway pipeline, and the dollar

The battle lines are drawn, and Northern B.C.’s pristine wilderness is the latest front. With hearings underway into the proposed $5.5-billion, dual 1,172-kilometre Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project to transport bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to Kitimat and imported condensate to dilute it from the coast back to Alberta, the fossil fuel industry and its supporters have stepped up the rhetoric. Environmentalists and people in towns, rural areas, and First Nations communities in B.C. have lined up in opposition.

SolarIMG – GIC Vulnerability of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline in Canada

Many Canadians are not happy with the proposed “Northern Gateway” pipeline from Alberta to B.C. and understandably so.[1] Fears of oil leakage, secondary environmental impacts, attacks and other concerns are most definitely reasonable and valid and should be raised. Hats off to all of the people who are expressing their opposition to the plan!

BC Natives fear disastrous oil spill inevitable?

The Gitga’at First Nation has been saying no to the Northern Gateway pipeline project since 2006. The project will bring more than 200 huge tankers annually through the waters next to their tiny community of 160 in Hartley Bay at the entrance to Douglas Channel on B.C.’s northwest coast.
The risks and effects of an oil spill are simply not worth any economic benefits, which the First Nation view as nil, says Marvin Robinson, a spokesman for the community.

Sea to Sands Conservation Alliance

BC Environment Minister admits Gulf of Mexico oil spill raises additional questions about Enbridge Northern Gateway project

Canada’s Faustian Bargain: The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline

Rhetorical mudslinging has dominated Canadian environmental news this week, with conservative politicians and environmental activists coming to verbal blows in the wake of the commencement of the environmental assessment of the Enbridge Inc. Northern Gateway pipeline.
The proposed pipeline will run from the Albertan Tar Sands to a long protected channel in Kitimat, BC, where the harvested oil will be loaded onto ‘super-tankers’ and transported to Asia. The pipeline project is estimated by Enbridge to generate at approximately $5.5 billion dollars, and is set to span a whopping 1,172 km.

Stop the Gateway Pipeline which will bring Mega Tankers to the BC coast. Oil spills are inevitable.
Dogwood Initiative, Petition
The most effective thing Canadians can do right now would be to sign and share the No Tankers petition. The more people who sign the petition the better able we are to exercise the power of Canadians who stand up for their values.

Stop tankers from entering Northern BC waters

Say NO to tankers

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